A recent article in USA Today, which highlighted efforts to increase college completion rates for graduates of public high schools in Chicago, noted the role that ACM colleges have played in strengthening college counseling in the schools.
The article, “Coaching can help qualified kids aim higher,” focused on Hancock High School in Chicago as an example of how school counseling staff and administrators have worked with students and their families over the past two years to dramatically raise both the percentage of graduating seniors going to college and the amount of scholarship money the students have been offered.
Admissions officers from the ACM colleges have been involved with Hancock and other high schools through a partnership with the College Counselors’ Collaborative (CCC), an initiative sponsored by the University of Chicago. CCC is working to increase the number of highly-qualified Chicago Public Schools students who enroll and graduate from selective colleges and universities, such as ACM colleges.
ACM’s collaborations with CCC have included presentations by admissions staff on pre-college planning for high school students, college fairs featuring the ACM colleges, professional development activities for guidance counselors, and tours in which counselors visit ACM campuses to learn about the colleges and make connections with admissions staff.
As the article pointed out, the initiatives are based on research conducted by the University of Chicago that found that many academically-prepared CPS students either do not enroll in college or they “undermatch,” that is, the students enroll at colleges with admission criteria that do not match their high level of achievement.
Hancock High School is one of more than two dozen schools participating in the CCC, and a Hancock graduate featured in the USA Today article will attend ACM member Lake Forest College this fall.
In June, the ACM Deans of Admission sponsored the Summer Institute for Counselors: Finding Fit in Selective College Admissions, a professional development workshop for guidance counselors from throughout the Chicago area. Forty-three counselors participated, including three from Hancock High School and nine from other CCC schools.
The Institute featured a mock application review exercise and sessions on topics such as writing recommendations, financial aid, helping students prepare their college applications and essays, and academic and experiential learning opportunities at liberal arts colleges.